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Sunfoil decide against renewing CSA deal

A fan holds the South African flag aloft Getty Images

Only one of Cricket South Africa's three domestic sponsors remain in place ahead of the 2018-19 season, in which there could be no corporate backing for either the franchise first-class competition or the 20-over tournament. Only the 50-over format continues to be sponsored, by the financial services company Momentum.

Sunfoil, the sponsors of Test cricket and both the franchise four-day and provincial three-day competitions, opted not to renew its deal with CSA at the end of the 2017-18 summer, ending a relationship which lasted seven years. ESPNcricinfo understands that the company would prefer to use its marketing budget differently. A CSA spokesperson said the organisation is at "at a more advanced stage in negotiations with a replacement and are confident we will be able to conclude the arrangement soon".

In the shortest, and most troubled format, for CSA, courier company RAM have decided not to back the T20 Challenge. RAM re-signed for the 2017-18 season, when the tournament replaced the postponed Global League T20 (GLT20), after also pulling out of a deal with CSA in 2016. For the 2018-19 summer, the competition has no sponsor and, given its timing and the uncertainty over whether another 20-over competition will also take place in South Africa, it is difficult to see how it could attract a backer.

The franchise T20 tournament will be played from the April 5 to May 5, 2019, which is particularly late in the South African season. It will also clash with the IPL, meaning big-name South African players who are contracted to the Indian competition are unlikely to be able to play for their domestic franchises. Moreover, if a replacement for the GLT20 takes place, this competition will be an afterthought that could become defunct in years to come.

The rest of the domestic season takes its usual form, and starts with the first-class competition in the last week in September. All six franchises will play each other, home and away. The one-day cup will be played between February 8 and April 1, with the semi-finals and final set to feature international caps. The knockouts will be played after the white-ball leg of Sri Lanka's tour to South Africa, so the national players should be free to participate in the franchise fixtures and thereby have further preparation for the 2019 World Cup.